Children of Starlight, part 3 episode 15 of “The Starlight Trilogy” by Thea Washington
The character “the Rock Star” is based on Adam Lambert.
The videos in Part 3 feature Adam Lambert, Queen, Depeche Mode and Savage Garden.
Chapter 29 – FURTHER
While Lover was gone, the Rock Star and the Exec told each other everything they knew, threatening the Intern with serious problems [Starlight] if he ever even thought about breaking his silence. But they still didn’t know how Twin had gotten into the life. That was what the Intern hadn’t told them yet. When the Rock Star heard the whole story, he wasn’t sure Lover could take it.
“How can I tell him that?” he asked. “How can I tell him she was traded to Snake’s brother, that Pimp Dealer, for drugs? And that he’d have been willing to pay anything to get her?” He stopped, trying to make sense of it all. And he was beginning to do just that.
“You know, he might have been the one to set up the snatch in the first place,” said the Rock Star, thinking out loud. “And that’s why Mommy told him Twin had overdosed and died. This’ll kill Lover,” he groaned. “He’ll feel responsible for the whole thing.”
“I know,” said the Exec. “He won’t see it all started with Snake, not with what he did to defend himself.”
“What I don’t understand is how all this fits together. I mean, how’d the Pimp Dealer find out that Twin knew?”
“Well, that’s what we still need to find out,” the Exec said. “However it happened, we know it took him five years to do it since she and Lover were only ten when Snake tried to rape him.”
The Intern chimed in. “Remember, we do know the Reporter had a meeting in D.C. with that entertainment-show Producer from New York. You know him,” he reminded the Rock Star. “The one that likes to talk like he knows everything that’s going on.”
“Oh, him,” Angel dismissed. “I always thought there was something off about him. It always seemed like he was trying too hard.”
“Yeah, that’s him.” The Exec remembered how well he and Lover had picked the Producer to start the (true) rumor that the Rock Star was coming back and that, when he did, his music was going to “blow people away.” The Producer’s big mouth was why he’d been chosen. It had worked, too. Only a few months later the Rock Star was home and in Lover’s arms and bed where he belonged.
“What do those two have in common?” The Rock Star was still putting it together. “The Producer and the Reporter,” he tried to figure out. ”Now that’s an interesting combination.”
“Yeah,” the Exec said. “Sorta like when I saw this one and the Reporter together at the airport.” He glanced at the Intern to make sure he hadn’t forgotten his tenuous situation.
“I couldn’t get close enough to hear the conversation,” the Intern said, ”but I know it involved money being exchanged. He used the same move with the Producer that he used with me, that “under the table” thing.”
“Didn’t you tell me something about them talking for a few weeks after that?” the Exec asked the Intern.
“Oh, yeah, I forgot. Yeah, they were on the phone a lot. They even met three or four more times, each time with money involved, I know that. And I did follow him past Twin’s corner more than once.” Suddenly he stopped. “Ohmigod, that’s it.”
“That’s what?” asked the Rock Star.
The Intern was wide-eyed. “Once, when I was sure the Reporter was all tucked in for the night, I went back to that corner he was so interested in. There was this car stopped there and this Younger “lady” with with a loud mouth was talking to the guy inside. The car had New York plates. And then Twin stepped up to the car, too, I think to quiet her down. That’s the first time I got a really good look at her and realized who she was.”
Exec wasn’t convinced. “That could have been anybody in that car. Lots of New Yorkers wind up in D.C. for some reason or another.”
“Yeah,” insisted the Intern. “But this was when that big deal at the Kennedy Center was happening, those Honors they give every year? He would have been in town for that. And it was dark in the car so I really couldn’t see but, with the size of this guy and that Benz he was driving, I bet it was him.” He turned to the Rock Star. “Do you have a photo of him anywhere?”
He didn’t. But the Intern was on this train of thought and thinking out loud, too.
“OK, let’s say it was him. And he’s talking to the “lady” who works with Twin. And then Twin shows up! It would make sense that they would have the same Pimp, right? Then there’s that meeting at the bar between the Producer and the Reporter and then all those phone calls the Wiz tracked. And a few weeks after that I see a conversation between Twin and the Reporter. That must be how he verified the story.”
Both men nodded. They could see where the Intern was headed. And they both knew that, if he was right, they’d just traced Lover’s story back from the Reporter to the New York Producer to the Younger loud-mouthed woman to Twin to Snake’s brother, the Pimp Dealer.
The only missing piece was how the Pimp Dealer had found out it was Lover.
Meanwhile, Lover was running. He felt like he was running for his life, his family, Twin, for her daughter, for Mommy. He ran up and down the Hollywood hills, through neighborhoods, by gated mansions like their own and back again. When he finally stopped, he’d stopped crying, too.
“Home.” He needed to go home. And not just to where he lived, he needed to go home, back to D.C. He had to find her, to help her and to get his niece. He’d bring them back to L.A. with him. He’d get her clean and take care of her little girl. Their girls were cousins, just like Son and Daughter.
They were family.
The Exec and the Intern had left by the time he got back to the Mansion. Angel was on the camera phone with the kids, who were staying overnight at the Guitarist’s. He knew it would be chaos over there, but the kids loved being with the other children. Both liked being around kids of the same gender, girls with girls and boys with boys. Kids tended to think like that. Angel thought, so did some adults.
Lover came onto the camera phone with Angel, who was glad to see that the run had helped. Together they talked and laughed with the children, who’d invented some language that only they understood. It involved lots of gesturing and laughs and specifically timed intervals. Plus they loved the very rambunctious dog, Columbo. When the Guitarist’s Wife came on camera she mentioned something about trading Columbo for the kids. Angel and Lover politely and hilariously declined the offer.
After the call and something to eat, Angel told Lover all he’d found out. He’d been right; Lover blamed himself for everything.
Much, much later that evening, after Lover had cried himself out again, they stretched out together on the sofa. Angel wrapped his arms around Lover and said, “This time I can’t let you go.”
Lover had no intention of moving. Nor did he want to talk about what they’d found out that day.
“Did I ever tell you how much I love you?”
Angel thoughtfully considered the question.
“No, I don’t recall that specific statement.”
“Well, I love you so much I can’t say how much. That’s probably why I haven’t told you.”
“I’ll accept that. Have I told you how much I love you?”
“Everyday, my love. Every day.” Lover looked up at his handsome, loving husband. “Would you do me a favor?”
“Anything, T. You know that.”
“I’ve had a helluva day. Would you give me a bath and make love to me?”
“Whatever you want,” whispered Angel. “Whatever you want.”
Chapter 30 – CLEANSING
Angel gently lifted Lover from the sofa, slipping his arm around him. Lover had calmed while they were stretched out, but it seemed that standing proved to be too much. He hesitated and then he just stood there, frozen in place. He apologized over and over, for everything, despite Angel’s reassuring whispers that none were necessary, that he hadn’t done anything wrong, that none of this was his fault. Angel helped him up the stairs.
When they got upstairs he sat Lover on the bed, undressed him and went to run the water for the bath, adding the scents and oils he knew his husband loved most. Going back into the bedroom, he led him to the bath to help him in. Lover stood by the tub in horror.
One of his favorite soothing bath oils, chamomile, was a deep pink. Usually Lover sank into the tub, laying back to enjoy the water’s softness and scent. But now, though, it reminded him of that bath after he’d killed Snake. He was back in that bath, watching the water turn pink with Snake’s blood. That’s when the flashback began. He backed into the bedroom and curled up into a ball on the bed.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” Lover repeated. “I was so scared. I knew what Snake was gonna make me do. The other kids talked about it, how it tasted, how they had gagged and Snake told them he’d kill their whole family unless they swallowed all of it.”
Angel could see it, the flashback. It was in the shaking, on Lover’s face and in the tears that wouldn’t stop. That couldn’t stop.
Angel hadn’t thought of what the color of the bathwater would do to Lover. Immediately he pulled the plug to let the tub empty. He quickly ran another bath, this time the water a soothing clear amber. Then he went back for Lover, who was still curled up and crying. Angel helped him back to the tub and settled him in.
“He was holding me down, holding my head and I wanted to beg him to let me go, to stop because I couldn’t breathe. He just kept pushing around my mouth and I was so scared because I knew, I knew. But he wouldn’t stop and I was so scared I couldn’t get the words out. And I couldn’t open my mouth anyway to say anything because he would have … “
Lover collapsed again. Angel was holding onto Lover and washing his back, holding him while gently smoothing the bath sponge and the soft water over the beautiful skin.
“Shhh, it’s OK. You’re safe now,” he said, gently. “It was awful. I’m just so glad you made it through.” Tears ran down Angel’s face, too, the horror of that day becoming real as Lover described it second by second. Who, what kind of monster could do that to another person, especially a child, a child?
Lover was shaking. “I wasn’t going to let him do that to me. I couldn’t. I had my family, Mommy and … “
Angel knew what was happening. Lover was remembering Twin. He looked at Angel and said, “What have I done to her?”
Angel laid Lover back up against the bath pillow, rinsing his hair and reassuring him that he’d done nothing wrong.
“You didn’t know, baby. You didn’t know. They told you never to come back to the neighborhood. Mommy needed to protect you, to protect both of you. So she sent you away and kept Twin close. She just wanted you both to be safe. She didn’t know what would happen after all those years. She thought you were all safe.”
Starlight wasn’t watching; this was private time. Regardless, this time she was listening. She decided that, somehow, she needed to be there when the bath was done, even if she couldn’t manifest. Besides, she knew that “jumping humans,” temporarily taking over their vessel, was deeply frowned upon. She didn’t care. She did not care. She’d obey Indio’s instruction not to intervene with the Reporter, but she quietly and reverently asked that she be allowed to visit her boys.
She wanted to be there, but not so anyone else on staff could see her. She did, though, look to Indio for guidance. He could tell how much she needed to go and, himself embodying the mastery of love, goodness and mercy, allowed her to go. But not stay.
She joined the Housekeeper’s soul and, moving through the house and past the staff, went upstairs where she saw the closed bedroom door and heard the bath water running out of the tub. She could see that Lover’s robe wasn’t on its usual hook behind the door. She looked through the wall at her boys. Gently she knocked on the door.
“Sirs, are you OK? Is there anything I can do?”
Both men immediately recognized her voice. As they watched, Starlight moved through the closed door, entwining the Housekeeper’s arms around Lover and then having Angel join them.
“I heard you find out. I had to come.”
Lover had stopped shaking for the moment, looking at who appeared to be the Housekeeper but who he knew was Starlight. This was new. He was so awed by this ability he’d been shocked out of the flashback, just as she’d known he would be.
Angel, on the other hand, had come to expect just about anything from Starlight. Which was not to say he, too, wasn’t impressed at this new skill.
It worked, though. The boys were both speechless. Starlight had to giggle at the looks on their faces. It was her first time jumping a human and it felt as weird as it must have looked. Indio had known she needed this lesson so she wouldn’t try to do it again until this was over.
“How?” asked a bewildered Angel.
“I’m not sure,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll be doing this again any time soon, though. I know it looks and sounds …” She searched for the right human, English word. “Unusual?” No, that didn’t quite do it. Neither did “eerie,” “unnatural,” or “odd.” She settled on “spooky” and continued. “I really like your Housekeeper but she has got to stop smoking.”
Starlight turned to Lover. Seriously, she said, “I want you to know that no one, not me, not any of the Ethereals, blames you for what happened. And I mean no One. I know you. I know you know what that means.”
Lover was overwhelmed with relief and in awe that his little life was important to the Forever Present.
“Oh, Lover,” said Starlight. “You are here for a purpose, a very special purpose. You both are. And you haven’t completed it yet. So don’t worry, this will be settled.” She turned full-faced to Lover, cupping his face in her hands. “Close your eyes and remember. Remember what I promised you.”
Angel was watching all of this in his own state of wonder and awe. Starlight had promised something to Lover that he didn’t know about?
Lover closed his eyes at the touch of the soft, warm hands. Starlight guided his soul back to the night when she’d asked him to help Angel. At first all he remembered was sleeping. Slowly, though, his soul began to whisper the conversation it had had with Starlight, her asking him to say “yes” to something, something about helping Angel. She’d told him that … that …
The memory completed itself.
“You said I would feel pain, emotional, psychological, physical pain. You said it would be Angel who hurt me, that he needed me. And you promised that I would marry him.” He paused as the last of the promise formed. “You told me there would be children,” he said, slowly. “And generations to come.”
Angel couldn’t believe what he was hearing. This was way beyond what he thought was the relationship between Starlight and Lover.
Starlight looked at Angel as she asked Lover, “And what happened next?”
Lover answered, “I said yes. I didn’t care what it would take to help him, I’d do it, whatever it took.” He opened his eyes.
“Yes,” said Starlight. “And by saying “yes,” you took the first step toward your purpose in Life.” She looked again at Angel. “The next day I sent Lover my ring.” She slid her right hand under Lover’s, lifting it so the friendship band/engayment ring shined in the Light. “’You love me’,” she smiled before continuing. “And ‘I love you’.” It was the two engravings inside each man’s band. She’d always known.
It hit Angel like a rock. He understood. Starlight’s ring and the mysterious message to Lover, his plan to bring Angel home from the Mountain House, the Rookie Reporter, that awful night in Lover’s kitchen, the betrayals, the marriage, having children, all of it had happened to fulfill a destiny. One that involved Everything, somehow. And none of it would have happened if Lover had said, “No, I’m too afraid.”
Lover understood, too. It was his soul’s strength and his love for Angel that had gotten him through all of that. Starlight’s promises were coming true. He’d always trusted her.
Now she was telling him to trust himself, that again he was strong enough.
“I must go. You understand?” she asked Lover.
Again, with a depth of conviction all of them felt, Lover said, “Yes.”
Starlight nodded, smiled and, engaging them both, silently gave them her love, her faith and peace. And another promise. Because of the souls’ strength she knew both Angel and Lover had, she would be their Joy.
Then she walked through the wall and returned the Housekeeper’s body to her. Angel and Lover heard her on the stairs, telling the staff she was going out for a cigarette. Suddenly, though, she changed her mind because she didn’t want one. Plus she was wondering where all that glitter on her had come from. She continued down the stairs, brushing it off and mumbling, “This house … “
Angel and Lover found themselves alone with an unkept promise he’d made to Lover. That was about to change.
Tomorrow in “Children” – Angel keeps his promise and fighting back begins